Get-rich-quick offers bombard elderly woman


The last time we met Lila Leigh-Mudd she had just got out of a jam. She wrote several checks to a work-at-home company and never saw a dime in return. Now predators are stuffing her mailbox with phony promises of easy money.

"It seemed at the time it made sense," said Leigh-Mudd.

Leigh-Mudd had been sending money to a company that promised to pay her 10 times more in return. Instead, she wound up losing $1,700. Then 7 On Your Side got involved. We contacted the company, demanding a refund, and Lila got every penny back.

"Thank God for Michael and Seven On Your Side," said Leigh-Mudd.

However, that was just the beginning. Ever since she wrote those checks, Leigh-Mudd's mailbox has been stuffed with more get-rich-quick offers.

"Anywhere from four to eight pieces of mail of 'I'm going to be wealthy,'" said Leigh-Mudd.

She saved just a couple days worth of mail to show us. We counted 42 different offers of easy, big money. There was everything from million dollar sweepstakes to a big inheritance.

"'Massive oil discovery could make us rich,'" read Leigh-Mudd from one of the pieces of mail. That one offered a stake in a gushing oil well.

Other offers said she can earn $304,000 in just one day or get super rich in the cellphone business. One was a check for $5,873,040.00. But the topper was a mailer that said she just inherited a fortune from her ancestors in the Netherlands, just discovered in an ancient tower. Each one wanted either a small payment, personal information, or a credit card number.

"Unfortunately, she's on what they call a sucker's list," said U.S. Postal Inspector Jeff Fitch.

Fitch examined Leigh-Mudd's pile of mail. He says when she paid money to one company, she landed on a list used by many others.

"They sell the list back and forth to each other, so they're actually making extra money just trading the lists amongst themselves," said Fitch.

Fitch says con artists use the Internet to find targets and often aim their pitches often directly for seniors.

"The elderly, there's retirement accounts, the elderly are home to accept phone calls and to receive these mailings," said Fitch.

Leigh-Mudd says all these grand offers go straight to the trash bin. Yet, even now she has to remind herself not to get taken in.

"It's interesting how everybody is going to make you rich. You have to be very careful in your thinking because you want to believe that somebody in this group of people is honest and they're not," said Leigh-Mudd.

If you receive offers in the mail that promise quick riches for a small investment, it's almost certainly a fraud. The U.S. Postal Inspection service would like you to report those mailings to its office. You can do that here: Mail Fraud Complaint

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